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Lesvos - BirdForum Opus

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Spring wader hot spot
Photo © by Mick Sway
Alykes Wetland Skala Kalloni, Greece, 28 April 2017

Alternative name: Lesbos

Faneromeni – Spring passerine migration hotspot
Photo © by Mick Sway
Faneromeni, Lesvos, Greece, 3 May 2017


Meladia Chapel – Springtime hotspot for warbler and flycatcher migrants
Photo © by Mick Sway
Lesvos, Greece, 25 April 2019

Where to start? Lesvos, or as it's also known Lesbos, is an island of approximately 90,000 residents spread out over 1,630 sq km/629 sq miles of area, surrounded by close to 370 km/229 miles of coastline.

Within the coastline, a visitor to Lesvos could encounter a number of waterways along with a rich and varied habitat and forests both live and petrified as well as volcanic mountains and hot springs. With this comes a mild Mediterranean climate giving it's visitors a very good opportunity to take in it's villages and the natural offerings of the island.

Birding opportunities here are numerous with potential of sighting a good variety of species and is considered a main stop along the migratory route between Europe and Africa

Lesvos/Lesbos, with Mytilini as it's capital, is the third largest of the islands of Greece, second only to Crete and Evia. [3][4]


Achladeri Forest, Krupper's Nuthatch - resident
Photo © by Mick Sway
Lesvos, Greece, 28 April 2017

Notable Species

Upper Potamia Valley – Turkish Clubtail, a beautiful damselfly & reptiles
Photo © by Mick Sway
Lesvos, Greece, 7 May 2017

Birding here varies, with the season it happens to be playing a large part. It's been said spring is the best, but that's not to rule out other seasons with people coming during other seasons and when a visitor can get the opportunity.

In early winter, as the weather cools, rainfall increases, and water flow increases species such as the Pygmy Cormorant might make an appearance around the coast with numbers of Great Cormorant increasing.

Come January and February, the latter portion of winter, it's the coldest, but in mid-February the temperature gets warmer and with the wetlands having water, numbers there increase. But not ever reaching large counts.

With spring's arrival temperatures and weather improve. Migration is underway by mid-March with early arrivals such as Common Chiffchaff, Garganey, and Northern Wheatear making an appearance. Then in early April raptors such as the Lesser Kestrel begin making an appearance.

Summer in June to August is hotter and drier. Migration slows down with the rise in temperature but can be a good time for groups of Sombre Tit and Western Rock Nuthatch.

Autumn's weather might see a slight drop in temperature in September, but winds from the north will help. October, while still warm, will be cooling some by the end of the month. It's a better time for birders to visit with good chances of sighting raptors and storks. Goshawk will peak during this time and species of White Pelican begin to show up with the potential of sighting large numbers. [4]

With this consider the 343 species that have been reported as having been sighted here coupled with the 15 globally threatened species, approximately 90 species recorded as rare/accidental[1], and the approximately 50 eBird Hotspots[2] on the island you will begin to get a good grasp of the birding potential Lesvos/Lesbos has to offer.


Sigri Sanatorium – A migratory bird hotspot
Photo © by Mick Sway
Lesvos, Greece, 14 May 2019

Bird species recorded as rare/accidental here include : Baillon’s Crake, Demoiselle Crane, Red-necked Grebe, Laughing Dove, Corn Crake, Caspian Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, White-tailed Plover, Crested Honey Buzzard, Eastern Imperial Eagle , Yellow-breasted Bunting , and Pallas’s Warbler.


Birds you can see here include:

Ferruginous Duck,Yelkouan Shearwater, Chukar, Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Alpine Swift, Spotted Crake, Eurasian Thick-knee, Pied Avocet, Spur-winged Lapwing, Wood Sandpiper, Broad Billed Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Black Tern, Little Bittern, Black Stork, Pygmy Cormorant, Purple Heron, Dalmatian Pelican, Short-toed Snake Eagle , Montagu’s Harrier,Red-footed FalconEleonora’s Falcon,, Eurasian Scops Owl, Long-eared Owl, Common Kingfisher, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Masked Shrike, European Roller, European Bee-eater,Sombre Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Rüppell’s Warbler,Marsh Warbler, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler ,Great Reed Warbler, Krüper’s Nuthatch,Citrine Wagtail, Red-throated Pipit, Rosy Starling, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Collared Flycatcher, Cinereous Bunting

Tsiknias River - Wading birds, terns, warblers, pratincole, storks & herons
Photo © by Mick Sway
Lesvos, Greece, 16 June 2012

Other Wildlife

Mammals found on the island include : Southern White-breasted Hedgehog Erinaceus concolor , Bicoloured Shrew Crocidura leucodon , Lesser White-toothed Shrew Crocidura suaveolens , Etruscan Shrew Suncus etruscus , European Free-tailed Bat Tadarida teniotis , Greater Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum , Lesser Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus hipposideros , Blasius’ Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus blasii , Mehely’s Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus mehelyi , Serotine (Bat) Eptesicus serotinus , Schreiber’s Bent-winged Bat Miniopterus schreibersii , Lesser Mouse-eared Myotis Bat Myotis blythii , Long-fingered Bat Myotis capaccinii , Greater Mouse-eared Bat Myotis myotis , Lesser Noctule Bat Nyctalus leisleri , Noctule (Bat) Nyctalus noctula , Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Bat Pipistrellus nathusii , Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus , European Hare Lepus europaeus , European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus , Persian Squirrel Sciurus anomalus , Lesser Mole Rat Nanospalax leucodon , Günther’s Vole Microtus guentheri , Yellow-necked Field Mouse Apodemus flavicollis , Eastern Broad-toothed Field Mouse Apodemus mystacinus , Long-tailed Field Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus , House Mouse Mus domesticus , Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus , House Rat Rattus rattus , Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Least Weasel Mustela nivalis , Beech Martin (Stone) Martes foina, Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra , Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus , Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis , Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba , Common Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncates.

Site Information

Kalloni Salt Pans – Potential for Dalmatian Pelican, wading birds, flamingo, larks & pipits
Photo © by Mick Sway
Lesvos, Greece, 27 April 2019

History and Use

Ipsilou Monastery - Spring resident Cinereous Buntings, Rock Sparrows and Passerines
Photo © by Mick Sway
Lesvos, Greece, 14 May 2019

Lesvos is in the midst of one of the most historic areas imaginable. This is, after all, Greece. This country has figured into all sorts of historical accounts from extremely early times. Philosophers, writers, and people of all sorts of other disciplines have called the area of Greece home.

Areas of Interest

There are too many interesting things and places here to choose just a few. But, from a purely birding standpoint, the numerous eBird Hotspots on the island have to take a prominent place when planning "what-to-do" on Lesvos/Lesbos.

Access and Facilities

Methods of travel to, and around, the area are widely varied. Airlines, cruise ships will get you here. Ferries will get you from one island to another, busses and taxis after you get to the island. Plan your trip and then decide how you want to get around after you arrive.

Consult a trusted travel professional for specific, up-to-date information concerning travel to this area.

Contact Details

"to do"


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Lepage D. (2020) Lesbos Bird Checklist - Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World. Retrieved 12 November 2020
  2. eBird - https://ebird.org/home
  3. Visit Greece - http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/greek_islands/northeastern_aegean_islands/lesvos
  4. Matt Barrett's Lesvos Guide – Lesvos.com - https://www.lesvos.com/

Recommended Citation

External Links

  1. Lesvos Birders (Birding and General Wildlife
  2. Birdwatching on Lesvos
  3. Birdforum thread: Lesvos Bird News


  1. Lesvos/Lesbos on OpenStreetMaps
  2. Lesvos/Lesbos on Google Maps

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